Introduction

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Welcome! In this module, we will introduce you to the revised high school art Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Levels I through IV.

Take a moment to pause and reflect. What exactly is creativity?

Creativity is defined as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. We will look closer at creativity as we begin to look at the revised TEKS and their focus on concept in addition to process. Creativity is the key.

The Fauve artist Henri Matisse, who never painted objects in their natural colors, said, "Creativity takes courage." Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, echoed this statement when he said that "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." These quotes remind us of the necessity for courage when accessing creative abilities. Creativity is not for the faint at heart or the timid.

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
Eric Fromm, Frankfurt School of Critical Theory

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The famed artist Pablo Picasso elaborated, saying that "The chief enemy of creativity is good sense." The creative endeavor doesn’t always make sense, and it is rarely neat and packaged so that it fits into just the right‐sized box.

Creative visionary and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs said, "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." All of these quotes, along with the student art you see, illustrate the key to teaching the revised art TEKS in high school—it takes courage to create and courage to cultivate an environment that nurtures creativity in others.

Creativity

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Creativity is a highly-valued skill. In the 2010 IBM Global CEO survey, business leaders reported that creativity is the most important skill for young leaders to possess as they enter the workforce. Creativity allows them to be productive by cutting through the growing complexities of working in a globally‐connected, multi‐cultural, networked world.

Can creativity be taught? Read the questions below and decide if you agree.

Can creativity be best taught by

  • skill exercises?
  • correcting wrong techniques?
  • nurturing ideas?
  • encouraging risk-taking?
  • giving insight into the value of personal expression?

If you answered "yes" to the first two questions, your focus may be on the process of making art. This builds skillful technique, but does not necessarily guide students into practicing creative idea building as the foundation of their artworks. If you answered "yes" to the last three questions, then you likely understand the environment a student must have to develop their inherent creativity. Creativity as an attribute must be identified, unharnessed, and nurtured.

Reflection Activity

Download the interactive PDF to respond to the reflection activity.

Think back to a time when you felt you were successful in fostering a creative environment for students. What were some of the attributes associated with that environment? What were the physical and emotional elements that helped create a supportive space for students?

IBM. (2010). Retrieved May 7, 2015 from Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study

Objectives

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By the end of this module, you will achieve the following objectives:

  • Reflect on creativity in the TEKS introduction and strand titles
  • Identify the differences between the original and revised high school art TEKS strands
  • Articulate the underlying focal points that guide the high school art TEKS revisions
  • Update current lesson designs in order to realign them to the revised TEKS

Our focus in this module will be on the revised high school art TEKS. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the revised high school art TEKS, adopted 2013.

Also, review the high school art TEKS comparison that shows the original and revised TEKS. You may wish to refer to this chart as we look at some of the changes in each strand. The side‐by‐side chart shows the changes from the original high school art TEKS to the corresponding revised TEKS.

Overview of the Revised TEKS

Previously, the introductory language to the standards began with the description of the four strands. In the revised TEKS, the opening language describes many of the 21st century skills that we know the fine arts teach—positioning the arts as an important factor for student learning across academic domains, as well as for lifelong success. This introduction was developed with the goal of expressing that all of the fine arts are powerful in nurturing the creative process in a child.

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"The fine arts incorporate the study of dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts to offer unique experiences and empower students to explore realities, relationships, and ideas. These disciplines engage and motivate all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving. The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher-order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life."
TAC §117.302. Art, Level I, Adopted 2013. (b)(1)

The introduction also states that "students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression."

This introduction is rich in the language of the 21st century skills, but these are not just words. The language represents concepts essential to the development of a well‐rounded person who will have the skills necessary to succeed in other content areas, as well as in future challenges. At this time, review the Framework for 21st Century Learning and the revised fine arts TEKS and compare them. Then underline or highlight all the 21st century skills words you find in the revised fine arts TEKS introduction.

"Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child."
TAC §117.302. Art, Level I, Adopted 2013. (b)(1)

TAC §117.302. Art, Level I, Adopted 2013. (b)(1)

Differences in the Original and Revised TEKS

Please review the course discovery secondary art to get an overview of how each strand is taught at each grade level and examples of what the course looks like in the classroom. Take a moment to review the chart before reading about each strand. Keep this chart handy, as you may want to refer back to it as you review each strand. It is also a great resource to discover new high school art course offerings.

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The four strands function interdependently within each course level, though they are most effective when woven together in lessons. All strands should be addressed in each course, but not necessarily in parity. Some courses may focus in great depth on specific strands, while touching on others mainly to demonstrate relevance and relationships.

Art Strands

Foundations: observation and perception
The student develops and expands visual literacy skills using critical thinking, imagination, and the senses to observe and explore the world by learning about, understanding, and applying the elements of art, principles of design, and expressive qualities. The student uses what the student sees, knows, and has experienced as sources for examining, understanding, and creating original artwork.

Creative expression
The student communicates ideas through original artwork using a variety of media with appropriate skills. The student expresses thoughts and ideas creatively while challenging the imagination, fostering reflective thinking, and developing disciplined effort and progressive problem-solving skills.

Historical and cultural relevance
The student demonstrates an understanding of art history and culture by analyzing artistic styles, historical periods, and a variety of cultures. The student develops global awareness and respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures.

Critical evaluation and response
The student responds to and analyzes the artworks of self and others, contributing to the development of the lifelong skills of making informed judgments and reasoned evaluations.

Design of the Art TEKS

At the high school level, courses are defined by course title, some with levels I–IV. Course levels represent expected levels of student experience and achievement in art, not grade‐level classification. For example, a senior without prior coursework in art would enroll in Art I, not Art IV. Art I, Art Appreciation, and Art and Media Communications I are entry‐level courses and are the foundation for all other high school art courses.

The design of the art TEKS provides both horizontal and vertical alignment of learning. These scaffolded knowledge and skills are the basis of quality art programs for all Texas students. Increased expectations at each grade and course level are communicated in a variety of ways:

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  • Degree of sophistication of knowledge and skills
  • Scope of skills and knowledge
  • Development of concept
  • Refining of communication and collaboration
  • Focus on originality
  • Depth of understanding

Expectations for students at each grade level take into consideration children's and adolescents' cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. The standards focus on learners, their present capabilities, and ways to help them progress to higher levels. When art instruction is aligned with the art TEKS, students grow in each course, paralleling the scaffolded knowledge and skills of the TEKS.

The vertical and horizontal scaffolding of the art TEKS is consistent with the TEKS for the other fine arts disciplines, providing a framework for meaningful, scaffolded learning. Take a moment to review the high school art TEKS alignment chart. The document shows how skills are scaffolded from one level to another.

Foundations: Observation and Perception

This module will focus on the strands as they are illustrated in the course discovery secondary art. Please click on the link as you may want to refer back to it as you review each strand. Though our focus has been on creativity, we'll now turn our attention to the four strands of the art TEKS for high school students. There are four basic strands of the original and revised art TEKS.

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  • Foundations: observation and perception
  • Creative expression
  • Historical and cultural relevance
  • Critical evaluation and response

In the original TEKS, the first strand was Perception, which described student expectations for developing and organizing ideas from their environments. The premise for this first strand encouraged students to have only cursory experiences with their surroundings. In the revised TEKS, the first strand becomes the basis for students' interpretations of their worlds through art. The first strand is now called Foundations: observation and perception. This strand describes student expectations that involve developing and expanding visual literacy skills by using critical thinking, imagination, and the senses. This approach encourages students to observe and explore the world by learning about, understanding, and applying the elements of art, the principles of design, and original expressive qualities. Students are expected to use what they see, know, and have experienced as sources for examining, understanding, and creating original artwork. This initial student expectation shows the depth of what the student is expected to not only experience, but also to synthesize into a visual expression. The strand retains the original concept of Perception and expands it to encourage each student to develop a unique creative voice.

Foundations: Observation and Perception

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Art, Level I (c)(1). Perception. The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment.

Art, Level I (c)(1). Foundations: observation and Pperception. The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment expands visual literacy skills using critical thinking, imagination, and the senses to observe and explore the world by learning about, understanding, and applying the elements of art, principles of design, and expressive qualities. The student uses what the student sees, knows, and has experienced as sources for examining, understanding, and creating original artwork.

Creative Expression

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The second original TEKS strand was Creative expression/performance, in which the student was expected to express ideas through original artworks, using a variety of media with appropriate skill. The revised second strand is simply called Creative expression and states the expectation that students will communicate ideas through original artworks, using a variety of media with appropriate skills. Students are expected to express thoughts and ideas creatively while challenging the imagination, fostering reflective thinking, and developing disciplined effort and progressive problem‐solving skills. Just as in the first strand, the basic premise of the original strand is kept but is greatly expanded upon to ensure that the students go deeper than mere process and delve into the concepts of art‐making. The word "challenging" is used intentionally to push students beyond just the technical use of media and into a place where they must routinely solve creative problems.

Creative Expression
Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Art, Level I (c)(2). Creative expression/performance. The student expresses ideas through original artworks, using a variety of media with appropriate skill.

Art, Level I (c)(2). Creative expression/performance. The student expresses communicates ideas through original artworks using a variety of media with appropriate skills. The student expresses thoughts and ideas creatively while challenging the imagination, fostering reflective thinking, and developing disciplined effort and progressive problem-solving skills.

Historical and Cultural Relevance

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The third original TEKS strand was Historical/cultural heritage, which stated student expectations for demonstrating an understanding of art history and culture as records of human achievement. The revised third strand of the TEKS, now called Historical and cultural relevance, describes student expectations of demonstrating an understanding of art history and culture by analyzing artistic styles, historical periods, and a variety of cultures. Students are expected to develop global awareness and respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures. Students are encouraged to view the history and cultures of other peoples, not to simply see them as records, but to develop respect for global cultures and their relevance to students' lives. The goal is for this global cultural awareness and respect to inform students' artistic expressions in living and vital ways.

Historical and Cultural Relevance
Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Art, Level I (c)(3). Historical/cultural heritage. The student demonstrates an understanding of art history and culture as records of human achievement.

Art, Level I (c)(3). Historical/ and cultural heritage relevance. The student demonstrates an understanding of art history and culture as records of human achievement by analyzing artistic styles, historical periods, and a variety of cultures. The student develops global awareness and respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures.

Critical Evaluation and Response

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The fourth original TEKS strand of the TEKS was called Response/evaluation, and it conveyed the expectation that students make informed judgments about personal artworks and the artworks of others. In the revised strand, now called Critical evaluation and response, students respond to and analyze their own artworks and the artworks of others, contributing to the development of the lifelong skills of making informed judgments and reasoned evaluations. The revised fourth strand takes what was a purely analytical evaluation of art and makes it a living skill that students can apply to all aspects of their lives. Art is presented as a part of that life rather than a compartmentalized academic discipline.

Critical Evaluation and Response
Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Art, Level I (c)(4). Response/evaluation. The student makes informed judgments about personal artworks and the artworks of others.

Art, Level I (c)(4). Critical Response/evaluation and response. The student makes informed judgments about personal artworks and the artworks of others responds to and analyzes the artworks of self and others, contributing to the development of the lifelong skills of making informed judgments and reasoned evaluations.

Comparison of Student Expectations

These four strands, individually and as a whole, provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills that students are expected to acquire in high school art. Students are expected to rely on personal observations and perceptions, which are developed through increased visual literacy and sensitivity to surroundings, communities, memories, imaginings, and life experiences. These insights serve as a source for thinking about, planning, and creating original artworks. Students communicate their thoughts and ideas with innovation and creativity, which in turn challenges their imaginations, fosters critical thinking, encourages collaboration with others, and builds reflective skills. By applying meaningful problem-solving skills, students will learn to develop the lifelong ability of making informed judgments.

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Let's look at an example of the differences between the original and revised TEKS. One difference can be seen in the Creative expression strand, student expectation A (Art, Level I (c)(2)(A)). The revised TEKS keep the "visual solutions" goal, but elaborate that the visual solution will result in an original artwork that will be informed by several additional considerations. Original sources and narrations have been added to direct observation, experiences, and imagination. The expectation of the authors was that students use problem solving to go beyond replication and into creative synthesis, resulting in something individual and unique. The focus changed from process to concept. We will compare these specific expectations while looking at the following lesson design.

Review Art, Level I illustrated in the course discovery secondary art to view how the Creative expression strand is taught in Art, Level I courses. You may also wish to view the examples provided to see what teaching with the revised high school art TEKS looks like in a Level I Art classroom.

Comparison of Student Expectations

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Art, Level I (c)(2)(A) create visual solutions by elaborating on direct observation, experiences, and imagination.

Art, Level I (c)(2)(A) use visual solutions to create original artwork by problem solving through direct observation, original sources, experiences, narrations, and imagination;

Summary of the Differences in the Original and Revised TEKS

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As you have just seen, there are many changes between the original and revised TEKS. However, we do not have to examine each one here because you have a link that will allow you to view all of the revised TEKS side‐by‐side with the original TEKS. For this part of the course, we want you to consider that the lens through which all the TEKS were revised involved focusing on why students make art rather than on how they make art—on the concepts behind art‐making rather than the processes of art‐making. Just because a student is making something does not necessarily mean they are being creative. The reason for the revised TEKS' focus on creativity is the understanding that developing creativity through the fine arts is central to student achievement and sound child development. In the revised TEKS, these important skills that are learned in art are seen as essential for student learning across academic domains, as well as for lifelong success.

The focus is on why students make art rather than how they make art.

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS (Original Lesson)

Let's consider a successful Level I lesson design from the original TEKS where the students are asked to create a self‐portrait using pencil on paper.

Please download and review the full lesson plan now. Review the left‐hand column to see the lesson plan based on the original TEKS.

Notice how the four strands are woven together. Students will use either a mirror or a photograph of themselves taken by another student in the class to create an original artwork. Notice that they are observing a photograph, using the elements of line and value from the Perception strand; creating their own original artwork

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and demonstrating an effective use of drawing techniques from the Creative expression/performance strand; looking at other self‐portraits and referencing historical and cultural self‐portraits from the Historical/cultural heritage strand; and evaluating the success of the drawings from the Response/evaluation strand.

A Basic Level I Lesson Design, Original TEKS
TITLE: Self-Portrait in Pencil
TEKS ADDRESSED: Art, Level I (1)(A)(B), (2)(A)(B)(C), (3)(A)(B), (4)(A)
CRITERIA: student expectations or objectives
ACTIVITIES: how to do the project, clean up, vocabulary

Here is what the basic Self-Portrait in Pencil project looked like within the revised Bloom's Taxonomy. Notice that each criterion is important for artistic development, but they do not all meet the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. Remember that Bloom's Taxonomy does not measure artistic skill levels, but rather thinking levels. The expectation in art classrooms is that our students work at the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy at all times, which is the reason for the changes in the revised TEKS.

What were the criteria for a successful self-portrait?

  • Make it look like you
  • Use a photo or mirror to draw a portrait
  • Examine other self-portraits and how they were made
  • Use basic drawing vocabulary

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS (Revised Lesson)

At this time, review the right-hand column of the Self-Portrait in Pencil lesson plan to see how the lesson changed with the revised TEKS.

Now let's consider that same successful Level I lesson design from the original TEKS, but redesigned using the revised TEKS. The students are still creating a self‐portrait using pencil on paper. They are using a mirror, selfie, or a photograph of themselves taken by another student in the class, and they are still creating an original artwork. However, the revised TEKS have added some expressive expectations.

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A Level I Lesson Design, Revised TEKS
TITLE: Who Am I?
TEKS ADDRESSED: Art, Level I (1)(A)(B)(C)(D), (2)(A)(B)(C)(D)(F), (3)(A)(B), (4)(A)(B)(C)(D)
ESSENTIAL QUESTION(S): When you show a friend the finished drawing of yourself, will they be able to tell something about you? What are some things they will know about you?
ACTIVITIES: how to do the project, clean up, vocabulary

Even with this high level of expressive expectations, the students could still stay at the "applying" level of Bloom's if one element is forgotten—the essential question. The essential question takes the process of drawing and makes students use it to communicate something that is unique to them. This encourages and enables the creative thinking process and makes the work relevant to the student.

Here is what the re-designed Self-Portrait in Pencil project—now called "Who Am I?"—looks like within the revised Bloom's Taxonomy. Notice that the important artistic development parts are still there, but it now meets the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy because the students have taken bits of their own worlds and synthesized them into artworks that communicate something about themselves and their worlds. They have become creatively expressive.

Each student artwork within your class will be based on the foundations of solid technical art-making and will use the same medium, but they will be unique and original because each child is unique.

What were the criteria for a successful self-portrait?

  • Reflect self and the time in which you live.
  • Express who you are.
  • Show your many "layers."
  • Use an image to draw a portrait.
  • View samples of other self-portraits.
  • Use basic drawing vocabulary.

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS: Your Turn

Using the Self-Portrait in Pencil lesson plan, develop your own essential question that will take this simple lesson and transform it into one that you could use with your students. The question should guide your students into thinking conceptually about a pencil self‐portrait rather than just developing their skill in drawing and shading. Looking at Bloom's Taxonomy, consider if this will guide your student into higher‐level learning.

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Once again—in addition to the advanced expectations in the revised TEKS, essential questions are the pivot point that transforms lessons into opportunities for unique creative expression for each of your students. In the basic lesson design, teachers instructed students to draw a self‐portrait in pencil, thinking about areas of dark and light. Those directions produced nice self‐portraits that might look like the students themselves, but the direction failed to raise the level of creativity and thinking as we saw in the redesigned lesson. The revised lesson is transformed by the essential questions. Using such questions, you caused your students to focus on why they are making a self‐portrait drawing rather than just how to do it. That is the essence of the revised art TEKS for high school students.

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The essential question:

  • Transforms lesson designs into revised TEKS lessons
  • Elevates learning into the higher "Creating" level of Bloom's Taxonomy
  • Aligns with the creativity focus of the 21st century skills

High School Art Courses

Now let's look at some high school art courses that were renamed. Level II: Drawing II, Painting II, Printmaking II, Fibers II, Ceramics II, Sculpture II, Jewelry II, and Photography II—all of these were changed to a "I" designation rather than "II" because technically it is the first time the students will be taking this course as a pure media course rather than the second time. Electronic Media II is now Digital Art & Media I. The same nomenclature repeats with Level III courses having a designation of II and the Level IV courses having a designation of III.

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Review the course discovery secondary art to view new and existing high school art course offerings.

The Revised TEKS with Special Education Considerations

From the pre-service preparation of art teachers to ongoing professional development, art teachers need opportunities to learn how to be part of the team for students who receive accommodations under Section 504 and special education. As valued members of the team and as teachers of students with disabilities, art teachers bring a different perspective about the strengths and needs of students. They must learn about required accommodations and regularly provide them, allowing all students to take part in and benefit from art instruction.

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Some examples of accommodations for the special needs student in the art classroom may include the following:

  • Easily accessible work spaces or tables for students with mobility challenges
  • Alternate tactile assignments for students with visual impairments
  • Extended time on assignments
  • Seating for paraprofessionals attending class with students
  • Collaborations with other students that help an emotionally disturbed or socially awkward student become a part of a team by participating in an art program

These and so many more examples are ways that the new art TEKS guide teachers to develop student skills by using kinesthetic, aural/oral, and visual techniques to address all learning styles and reach all learners.

The Revised TEKS for English Language Learners (ELLs)

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The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) outline proficiency level descriptors and student expectations for English language learners (ELLs). Classroom instruction that effectively integrates second language acquisition with quality content area instruction ensures that ELLs acquire social and academic language proficiency in English, learn the knowledge and skills in the TEKS, and reach their full academic potential. Art classes provide great opportunities for students to practice skills such as these listed in subsection (c) of the ELPS:

  • internalize new basic and academic language by using and reusing it in meaningful ways in speaking and writing activities that build concept and language attainment;
  • monitor oral and written language production and employ self-corrective techniques or other resources; and
  • use accessible language and learn new and essential language in the process.

Art teachers should become familiar with the ELPS and the cross-curricular learning strategies.

Ways cross-curricular learning strategies can be used in art classes:

  • The importance of environment and experience as the basis for artworks helps students use prior knowledge and experiences to understand meanings in English.
  • Students articulate their artistic statements for their artworks and monitor others' understanding of them.
  • Art vocabulary, such as that related to design elements and principles, is taught in all art classes.
  • The visual nature of art classes helps students build language skills by working collaboratively with peers on large art projects that require them to request assistance, use non-verbal cues, and use synonyms and circumlocution.

Conclusion

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What do you need to energize creativity in your classroom?

First, you elevate your teaching beyond just teaching an art process by applauding expression and asking hard, conceptual questions. You allow and even encourage your students to take chances and possibly make mistakes. Students push us to find new solutions and take us into a higher plain of learning and success. You demonstrate to your students that their greatest triumphs usually come from their hardest struggles. You embrace and become comfortable with the constant puzzles and problems that are involved in art‐making. Have the courage to try something new, revise something comfortable, and let students develop their own artistic voice, resulting in a classroom filled with life and growth.

You will need to:

  • Consider ideas beyond just the art processes—why we make art rather than just how.
  • Have courage to try the unknown and to let students develop their own voice.
  • Juggle the time pressures of allowing students to work from original sources rather than the convenience and speed of finding an image on the Internet.
  • Allow noise and movement in your class to foster active lesson designs, which in turn fosters creative risk-taking.

With the revised TEKS, you have the opportunity to renew your own inspiration and enable students to become confident and creative risk‐takers. You can be a teacher who transcends just art and makes a real difference for students' future success. As Confucius said, "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." This is the purpose of the TEKS revisions—to adjust our actions to reach our goals.

Reflection Activity

Download the interactive PDF and respond to the reflection activity.

You have the courage to try something new and to revise something comfortable. As you reach out past your comfort zones as an artist, what are some areas you feel you can stretch and push beyond when nurturing each student's artistic voice?

Quiz

Extend Your Learning: Tools and Resources

Here are a few additional resources to support your ideas and lesson designs. At these links, you will find information related to the new standards, art tools for your professional tool box, and videos and webinars for seeing art education in action. Also, these sites serve as great sources for art advocacy and growing your program. Take a moment to review each one. You may wish to bookmark these resources or some of the others used in this module, such as the high school art TEKS alignment chart, the high school art TEKS comparison, or the course discovery secondary art.

Tools and Resources

Professional Development Opportunities for Art Teachers